Barcelona is the third most visited city in Europe for tourism, after London and Paris. Of those cities, BCN is the only one with legitimate cannabis clubs. Much like Amsterdam it has become a city that tolerates cannabis within the confines of certain legal grey areas. Cannabis is not completely legal in Spain. However, it is legal to be part of a cannabis club and enjoy weed within the club. It’s also legal to smoke cannabis in the privacy of your own home. This can cause confusion with tourists and with administrative fines in BCN being issued into their thousands, it’s good to know the law. What are the 10 mistakes tourists make about the cannabis clubs in Barcelona? In this article we’ll discuss some of the most obvious mistakes and a few you may not be aware of.
Try to avoid making the following common mistakes:
- Asking to buy weed
- Trying to ask questions before joining the club
- Not bringing I.D.
- Asking people on the street about cannabis clubs
- Smoking cannabis outside a club
- Buying own rizla
- Picking a touristy club with bad cannabis
- Being blatant around the club entrance
- Thinking cannabis must be legal everywhere
- Buying too much weed
Best Social Clubs in Barcelona
1. Asking to buy weed
One of the most important rules to adhere to is not to ask to buy weed in a club. Barcelona cannabis clubs are private member groups. They are not actually shops. Officially they cannot ‘sell’ anyone anything. You are a member of the club and are contributing to the costs incurred by the club. Because the cannabis clubs exist in a grey area of the law, it’s important for them to make a distinction about something like this.
Many clubs will refuse you service if you ask to buy weed. Just to be safe, always ask if you can ‘get’, ‘have’ or some other similar, non-financial, word. As far as the club is concerned, you could be working with the police and even a simple slip-up like this could land them years in prison. The police in Barcelona are very serious about the law and if you are going to be visiting a BCN cannabis club, you need to be aware of what is and what is not legal.
2. Trying to ask questions before they are members
Another aspect of the law that a good cannabis club is keen to adhere to revolves around self-promotion. Officially the clubs are no allowed to promote themselves. This is very grey area as you will see they have websites and social media pages. Many cannabis clubs make it very clear on those pages that the pictures and information are not for promotional purposes.
It’s important you don’t ask questions before you are a member, if the members running the desk are seen promoting the idea of you joining, then that is an incursion on the law. This means they can’t sell you on the idea of joining. You can be invited to be a member and they can sign you up, but they aren’t going to persuade you to join. If they do, then that could be deemed an illegal act on their part. In summary, the law around the idea of promoting a club is very grey indeed. Any club that goes out of its way to overtly promote itself on the street or on the front desk is probably only going to be concerned with making money, not with good weed or the safety of its members.
3. Not bringing I.D.
This is something that varies wildly with BCN cannabis clubs. There is no law that says you must take your I.D. every time you visit a club, but you will need it the first time. When you have been invited to be a member, they are required to have a record of everyone who joins. This means that they will take plenty of personal details and will need a copy of some form of identification. Once you are a member of a Barcelona coffeeshop you will then get a sense of whether you need to take you I.D. on every visit. Some clubs are very strict about it and, even if they recognise you, will still turn you away without your identification. Other clubs however will just issue you with a membership card or a red keyring and that’s enough. It’s hard to tell what a cannabis clubs membership policy will be, but don’t be surprised if the good ones are strict. That’s a good sign.
4. Asking people on the street about cannabis clubs
Never ask people on the street smoking cannabis about clubs. And, never listen to a street promoter who is trying to convince you to go to a club. Anyone smoking on the street is acting very dangerously as the police in Barcelona are very strict. If they are smoking on the street, then they obviously don’t care about being arrested or are so local that they know exactly where to get away with it. Either way they are probably not the best person to be asking about BCN cannabis clubs you can join. It’s perfectly legitimate and legal to apply for cannabis club membership online, so stay safe and use the web!
As for the street promoters, the clubs they point you towards will be the worst of the worst. As mentioned previously, it’s completely illegal to promote on the street. Any cannabis club that is doing this is probably only in it for the money and doesn’t care about the quality of their weed. Avoid the street promotors like you would any of the other street drug dealers in Barcelona. Interacting with these promoters means you will probably end up wasting money, or even worse, finding yourself in a dangerous situation. There are plenty of dangerous criminals in a city as large as Barcelona.
5. Smoking cannabis outside a club
This should be obvious by now, but if it hasn’t sunk in then it’s worth repeating: Don’t smoke cannabis on the street in Barcelona. It’s illegal. The police love to dish out fines for it. The minimum amount that we’ve heard of is around 500 euros, but they can go much higher. If you are caught more than once, then the fines can be as much as 30,000 euros. Don’t risk you holiday money. Find a good club, smoke the weed inside, don’t carry any weed out with you and enjoy being high without the paranoia. Or at least only with the normal amount of stoned paranoia!
6. Buying their own rizla
This is not obvious at all and no one will mention it, but every club has free rizla and roach card. Don’t bother buying rizla because you can just get it for free inside the clubs. Most cannabis clubs have OCBs. Winner!
7. Picking a touristy club with bad cannabis
Because you can’t just walk in off the street with a Barcelona cannabis club, you need to research ahead of time. Just like a city full of bars, some will be to your taste and some will not. Some will be there just to make money, and some will be focused on creating a great atmosphere for the members. The good thing about the internet and social media is that you can research the Barcelona coffeeshops before you go.
Worth reading: “My experience of Cannabis Clubs in Barcelona“
Do bear in mind that most clubs will give their members free weed for writing reviews, so pay attention to the bad reviews as well. If you can find a club that has very few bad reviews and posts pictures of their weed, then it’s probably a good club. Some clubs will be hesitant to post pictures of their weed, due to the laws around promotion. For these clubs you may just have to take a risk, ask for an invite and hope for the best. Losing 20 euros on membership fees is a small price to pay for being able to legally smoke weed in a BCN cannabis club.
8. Being blatant around the entrance
Don’t stand around the entrance of a club pointing and asking your friends if you think this is the place! The clubs need to be a little covert to stay safe. Most clubs have photos of the entrance on google maps, so do your research and look like you know what you are doing. If the police are checking up on the club, then having people standing around outside looks very bad. Walk up, hit the buzzer and enter.
9. Thinking cannabis must be legal everywhere
Cannabis is not legal everywhere in Barcelona. It’s only legal in cannabis clubs and the privacy of your own home. It’s not legal to carry it on the street. The law is very strange but that’s the way it is. As a tourist you don’t have a home in Barcelona, so the only place it’s legal is in a cannabis club. If you are lucky enough to get invited back to a friend’s house and they smoke, then you can smoke there as well. As a tourist you should be extra careful. The last thing you want when on holiday is to be fined enormous amounts of cash. Always play it safe.
Some of the clubs we reviewed:
10. Buying too much weed
We all love weed. Seeing the number of strains and smoking methods available to you in a BCN cannabis café might be amazing, but there’s no need to rush. Just buy as much as you are going to smoke there and then. As previously mentioned, it’s illegal to have cannabis on you in the street, so don’t buy loads and carry it around. Just buy enough for a few bongs or spliffs and then smoke it. The clubs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and, if you find a good one, they will always have good weed.
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